Coaching search profile: John Thompson III

With South Carolina Athletic Director Eric Hyman in the process of searching to find USC's next head basketball coach, continues its look at potential candidates for the job. Today, GamecockAnthem's Chris Cox examines Georgetown head coach John Thompson III and breaks down what type of fit he would be for the South Carolina position.

A theme seems to have set in as GamecockAnthem continues to learn information on the top candidates to replace Dave Odom as the head coach at the Univresity of South Carolina.

The theme? All of the coaches that are considered serious candidates for the job are young, energetic, and successful at their current program.

The theme seems to continue as multiple sources have confirmed that another top candidate for the head coaching position is current Georgetown head coach John Thompson III.

Thompson has led the Georgetown program over the past four seasons and has watched his program bud into one of the perennial powers in college basketball today.

After leading his alma mater Princeton to an NIT berth and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Thompson received the news that he would be the next coach of the Georgetown Hoyas.

His father, John Thompson, Jr., was the head coach for the Hoyas from 1972-1999 and led GU to a national championship in 1984.

Thompson Jr. revitalized a Georgetown program that had gone 3-23 the previous season. After a few years spent rebuilding, Thompson Jr. led Georgetown to 14 consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament and 24 consecutive seasons in the postseason overall.

His teams appeared in the Final Four in 1982, 1984, and 1985.

Certainly John Thompson III, or "JT3" as he is affectiontely called, was raised in a successful basketball family.

In Thompson's first season at the helm of GU in 2004-2005 season, JT3 helped Georgetown finish with a winning record and fell one game short of Madison Square Garden and the NIT Final Four.

Ironically, the team that kept them from New York City was none other than Dave Odom's Gamecocks, who went on to beat St. Joseph's in the final just two games later.

Thompson used the NIT berth to springboard his program into the NCAA Tournament for the next two seasons, as his Princeton offense helped guide the Hoyas to the Sweet 16 in the 2005-2006 season and a Final Four berth in 2006-2007.

Currently, Georgetown is 24-4 overall and 14-3 in the Big East after narrowly defeating Tom Crean's Marquette Eagles.

In the 2005-2006 season, Thompson's Georgetown squad jumped on the map in early January, as his squad stunned the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils.

That win helped propel the Hoyas to the NCAA Tournament, where they knocked off 10th seed Northern Iowa, then shocked the #2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2001.

The following year, after getting off to a slow 4-3 start, the Hoyas turned the jets on as they raced to a 30-7 record and a sparkling 13-3 conference record.

After easily dispatching of Belmont in the first round, the Hoyas edged Boston College in the second round.

After a thrilling one-point victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores, Thompson led GU to an exciting 96-84 overtime victory over the heavily favored North Carolina Tarheels to advance to Georgetown's first Final Four appearance in 22 years.

With Georgetown set to make another strong push through the Big Dance, Thompson's name continues to emerge as a candidate at several programs throughout the country.

So what would make South Carolina an enticing job to Thompson?

For starters, JT3 may wish to escape the big shadow cast by his father over the Georgetown programs. Thompson is continually compared to his father, and that may be something that he wishes to escape.

Secondly, while Georgetown pays him a hefty salary at around 900K, they would be in no shape to win a bidding war for Thompson's services against South Carolina.

Reports are that Athletic Director Eric Hyman is willing to spend up to 1.5 million on the next head coach's salary.

Finally, Thompson's wife Monica, who in 2004 was diagnosed with cancer, has ties to the state of South Carolina.

Will these reasons be enough to convince John Thompson III that South Carolina is the right fit for him? Only time will tell.

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